This is an important milestone considering the Cove Point facility was originally constructed to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from foreign countries to the United States during a period of energy scarcity. Now, thanks to abundant supplies of natural gas unlocked through hydraulic fracturing, the Cove Point facility is being expanded into an export facility.
Caption: Governor Hogan breaking ground at Cove Point Source
Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale now produces 14.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day and accounts for 36 percent of U.S. shale gas production. Without the success of this shale play, the Cove Point facility likely would have remained an import facility.
The Cove Point facility also goes to show how far-reaching the economic benefits of shale development are. As EID previously noted, the $3.8 billion project will create three thousand shovel ready jobs during the three years it will take to construct the facility and then 75 new permanent jobs once it’s running. The facility will also provide a long term revenue stream for Calvert County to the tune of $40 million a year on average. According to Governor Hogan:
“The Cove Point expansion is one of largest private investments ever in Maryland and designed to bring both economic and environmental benefits to Maryland. Through this project, Maryland will have the ability to share some of America’s new found energy production capabilities with overseas markets – in places like Japan and India.”
Further, thanks to the increased use of natural gas from hydraulic fracturing, the United States has been able to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We now have the opportunity to help our allies lower their emissions and greenhouse gases on a global scale through LNG exports. As a recent peer reviewed study from Carnegie Mellon University concludes:
“From a global emissions perspective, this study has shown that exporting LNG can help to reduce life cycle GHG emissions from electricity generation and industrial heating.”
Governor Hogan will soon be making a decision on whether to proceed with hydraulic fracturing in Maryland. With part of the Marcellus Shale underlying two Maryland counties and the groundbreaking of the Cove Point facility it just doesn’t make sense to continue stalling the development that would bring huge economic and environmental benefits to the state.